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Thousands of UK churches ditch fossil fuel electricity - 2nd September


More than 3,500 churches across Britain have moved their electricity supply to renewables, or are planning to do so, according to data released on Thursday.

Those switching away from fossil fuels include the majority of the Salvation Army’s sites, about a third of Quaker meeting houses, and about 2,000 churches belonging to 16 Catholic dioceses which are running entirely on renewable energy.

Fitting churches with renewable energy generation devices, such as solar panels, mini wind turbines and ground or air-source heat pumps, is often difficult, owing to the expense and fact that many are listed buildings. However, parishes can also opt to buy their electricity from green suppliers.

Many of the Catholic dioceses making the switch were influenced by the Pope’s encyclical last year, Laudato Si, in which the pontiff expressed his concerns over global warming and the harm that our activities are bringing to the natural environment. Pope Francis has been particularly concerned over the plight of poor people around the world, who are among the most vulnerable to climate change, and has called on the rich to provide assistance.

John Arnold, bishop of Salford, which is one of the dioceses, called on other churches to follow suit in moving to renewable power: “There are many ways in which we respond to the threat and reality of climate change. Adopting renewable energy for our church buildings must be a priority [and by doing so] we will directly help people threatened, and already most severely affected, by climate change.”

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